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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)


BO5 / K-15 / Sagarika / Shourya

This missile, whose name has been variously given as Sagarika or at times K-15 or even Dhanush, has finally been christened as BO5 - a medium-range ballistic missile. While published reports are generally consistent about the characteristics and chronology of this system, there was for a long time general disagreement on one fundamental point, whether the missile is a ballistic missile or a cruise missile. The reported physical dimensions of the missile seemed to support the reporting that it is a cruise missile. Sagarika appeared to be the designation of the sea-based version of the missile which is designated Shourya when deployed on a land-based Transporter Erector Launcher. The K-15 launch sile is well attested, and appeared to be intended for the Advanced Tehnology Vessel nuclear submarine. It is, however, far too large for the Sagarika missile. It is reasonable to believe that this launcher would initially be employed with 3 BO5 - a medium-range ballistic missile in each tube, which could subsequently be back-fitted with a single Agni-III ballistic missile.

DRDO is said to working on the K-15 SLBM, having tested it from submersible pontoon launchers, with the aim to integrate it on the indigenous nuclear submarines being built under the secretive ATV (advanced technology vessel) project. Though not in the range of the over 5,000-km SLBMs in the arsenal of US, Russia and China, the 750-km range K-15 would accord India with the desperately-needed third leg of the nuclear weapon triad.

The launch of the K-15 Sagarika missile on 26 February 2008 from a submerged pontoon in the Bay of Bengal simulated the conditions of a submarine launch. India, for the first time on Wednesday 12 November 2008, test-fired from a defence base in Orissa its submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) K-15 from a land-based launcher. It was test-fired successfully from the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Chandipur in the district of Balasore, about 230 km from state capital Bhubaneswar. The test was intended to check speed, trajectory, azimuth and other parameters of the missile. The missile had earlier undergone a few tests in an underwater platform.

The K-15 missile has two stages fitted into its half-meter diameter body. It can carry a payload up to one ton and has a maximum range of 700 km. The K-15 missile has a length of around 11 meters [other reports say only 7 meters], larger than the 8.5-meters-long Prithvi short-range ballistic missile but smaller than the 15-meter-long Agni-1 ballistic missile - both of which have a diameter of 1 meter, twice that reported for the K-15.

Project K-15 Launcher

The K-15 launch silo is well attested, and appeared to be intended for the Advanced Tehnology Vessel nuclear submarine. It is, however, far too large for the Sagarika missile. It is reasonable to believe that this launcher would initially be employed with 3 BO5 - a medium-range ballistic missile in each tube, which could subsequently be back-fitted with a single Agni-III ballistic missile.

The Project K-15 launcher was designed and developed for testing of missiles. The system was been delivered to the user in 2004 and mounted inside a pontoon. Design by analysis approach has been adopted for final configuration of the launcher. The material used for launcher structure is high-strength-lowalloy (HSLA) steel. Sets of guide rails are bolted to the container to hold the launcher. Advanced fabrication technology has been used to ensure the desired perpendicularity, parallesim and concentricity. A 2.3 m static seal, which restricts water ingress to the bottom of the container, was designed and experimentally validated for extreme hydrostatic pressure.

Platform launcher has been designed for launching medium range surface-to-surface missiles. It comprises a launcher structure, a set of shock isolation systems, a set of launcher locking mechanism, a set of special seals and a connector alignment mechanisms for connector blind mating. The launcher structure is having precision dimensional features for perfect interfacing with the missile and other subsystems. The structure is made of special high strength stainless steel for a maintenance-free service life. This material does not need any corrosion protection against any aggressive marine environment.

The shock isolation systems protect the launcher against shock load. The shock isolation systems comprise disc spring stacks in longitudinal direction and elastic beams in lateral direction. This particular non-conventional combination takes care of compactness and mode decoupling. The locking mechanism locks the shock isolation suspension system and provide rigid support during launch operation. It is a fail-safe all mechanical device. The 2.4 m diameter diaphragm seal prevents water entrance and flexes when the launcher vibrates on the shock isolation mounts. The seal has been developed based on steel reinforced radial tire technology. The connector alignment mechanism has all six degrees of freedom and, therefore, capable to take care of any misalignment within the envisaged limit during blind mating of connector.

In early 2008 India announced that it had perfected the technology for launching missiles from a submerged submarine. That meant the silo design had been perfected as well.




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